Confronting Vicarious Trauma in the Age of Graphic Content Consumption

Nov 16, 2016, 12:00 PM

In 21st century newsrooms, journalists, social media teams, and picture editors are now faced with more graphic content than ever before. Filtering and verifying user-generated content is a now a core part of the news process and in recent years the Syrian civil war, the rise of Islamic State and civil unrest has meant that many journalists and viewers are exposed to disturbing images on a daily basis.

Research by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma suggests that related trauma can cause a triad of disabling responses, and a study carried out by Eyewitness Media Hub found that individuals working with content of a graphic or distressing nature were most affected. So how are journalists at risk of vicarious trauma from user generated content? And what do we know about the effects of vicarious trauma on viewers?

On this week’s podcast, host and journalist Della Kilroy is joined by Storyful’s Director of News Joe Galvin, journalists Jenny Hauser and Razan Ibraheem, and Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism encouraging innovative reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy worldwide.

The panel discusses what impact graphic content has on both journalists and viewers and how we can confront vicarious trauma in the age of graphic online content consumption.

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